Monday, August 31, 2015

The Honey-Guide and the Honey Badger(Ratel): A true story of love and symbiosis.

The Honey-Guide and the Honey Badger could not be more dissimilar: one being a dainty bird, and the other being a viscous mammal, known for its love of taking down large prey and munching on poisonous reptiles for fun. What they do have in common, though, is a love and necessity for what composes those delicious bee hives.
All the Honey-Guide desires is the waxy walls of the bee hive that serve as it's main food source. However, getting to the inner walls is not easy, and bees are scary/ liable to sting. Thus, the honey-guide finds a friend to do all of the dirty work. Since the Ratel (or honey badger, as it is known) only craves the honey from within the nest, and has a thick, coarse layer of fur that protects it from stings, it proves the perfect ally. The honey-guide locates as nest and then notifies the ratel by making a high pitched chirping noise and flashing its wings to entice the badger to follow. Once there, the honey badger takes down the nest and eats until full; whereafter the honey-guide scavenges the remains. This proves to be the perfect mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship in which both happy parties leave fed and full.
Fun fact: Honey-Guides don't just guide ratels to the delightful hives; they're also known for helping humans find honey faster then they could've done otherwise!
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